International Pop Underground

On Thursday night, Calvin Johnson and Lois Maffeo of K Records held a lecture at the State Capitol Museum. They discussed Olympia’s early independent music scene through the 80s and the early 90s, focusing on Calvin’s now legendary International Pop Underground Convention, which took place over a span of 6 days in August, 1991.  Held in Olympia, numerous venues and houses participated in the festival, hosting events and dance parties. The talk lasted nearly 2 hours though it felt more like Calvin was just getting started! After the lecture, I perused the fliers and other K memorabilia Calvin brought to the museum. Nearly 20 years later, I held the famous IPU invite in my hand, the very prose famously penned by Johnson in 1991 that was my eventual introduction to K Records in 1993. Reprinted in some forgotten zine found in a Buffalo independent record store, it lead me to the purchase of my first Beat Happening album, Jamboree, a favorite even now.

During the talk, Calvin’s mom asked him to read the invitation and then chastised him for reading too quickly.

Because we are the misfits and we will have our day.

The ABC House even hosted some events. On Friday, August 23rd 1991, Jad Fair, Kicking Giant and Bratmobile played at my house for a breakfast show at 10 in the morning. How fucking rad is that? Seriously, it gives me shivers.

And another show at a now empty local grange hall that my former housemate attended.

Finally. It feels good to feel at home in the universe.


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